‘You are not fish. How do you know the fish is happy or not?’ This is a famous philosophical debate between Zhuangzi and Huizi. We are neither butterflies nor frogs, how do we know whether they are happy or not?
The assumption of a happy butterfly and unhappy frog is the assumption of the PAP. They assume butterfly can fly here and there; high and low; and they can see the beautiful world so butterfly must be happy. Unfortunately, a frog has only a limited space to live and can only see a small world so frog is not happy. Or, the PAP’s usual story of boiling frog is another reminder.
Is this so simple?
[Singaporean society could either emerge as a happy butterfly, flitting around in a garden city, or it could emerge as a lonely frog, croaking away unhappily in a little well. Objectively, the odds should favour a happy outcome. Subjectively, we seem to be headed for an unhappy outcome.]
Butterfly Lovers and Charming Frog Prince
Stories about butterfly are always beautiful but tragic. ‘Madame Butterfly’ is one. ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is another one. Liang and Zhu can only become lovers after death when they transform themselves into butterfly. Do you want to be happy in your second life?
No wonder the PAP promises you a Swiss standard of living, in what, in your second life? No wonder they call for a sustainable population for a dynamic future Singapore.
However, a butterfly is only happy if it can fly now and not in the future. This is why Zhuangzi says a current thirsty fish will become a dried fish in the market later. So, a happy butterfly will become a sample butterfly available on sale in a souvenir shop later.
Hence, by the time you see the Swiss living or dynamic Singapore, you are already a dried fish or a sample butterfly. Will you be happy then?
As for the assumption of unhappy frog, there are some good and happy stories about frog:
[A popular phrase related to this story is, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince." It is used to encourage those who still seek true love.]
[The frog represents the lunar yin, and the Frog spirit Ch'ing-Wa Sheng is associated with healing and good fortune in business, although a frog in a well is symbolic of a person lacking in understanding and vision.]
The PAP assumes a frog can never jump out of a well. In fact, the Punggol East by-election has proved them wrong. The PAP fails to realise they need to care about the locals or in this case kissing the locals: "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince."
The PAP is too afraid to kiss frogs, especially those poor, old, sick, stupid and uneducated frogs. In returns, how can the locals give the PAP a handsome prince?
The case of rich butterfly and poor flog
Perhaps, we can use a recent Budget debate on MCI to have a better understanding of the working of ‘a rich government funded butterfly and a poor media contents flog.’
[The government will pump in another $182 million to increase the production public service broadcast (PSB) programmes over the next four years. This was announced in the Singapore Budget 2013 on Friday.
The extra funds will be dedicated towards increasing the number of locally-produced current affairs programmes and documentaries on culture and heritage said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday.
The additional amount is on top of a $630 million kitty that had been earmarked for public service programmes earlier in July 2012, spread across five years till 2016.
Some 40 per cent of the funding for local PSB programmes will be made available to independent production companies, the Media Development Authority said.]
The government is giving a lot of money to produce a beautiful butterfly – public service broadcast programmes. Of course, this butterfly must be presentable and its associates are very happy. However, when we look at the contents, it is full of controls, restrictions, and propagandas. So, we cannot expect the artistic quality of Madame Butterfly or Butterfly Lovers in Singapore.
However, this classic case proves that butterfly is happy and frog is unhappy. The public broadcasting butterfly is happy as they receive a lot of funding but the local frogs are not happy as they don’t get to see the world class programmes.
Yu can apply this case to other situations in Singapore. You will then understand the making of the rich and the poor in Singapore. You may also think twice about the saying of ‘our income tax schedule is highly progressive with 55% of Singaporeans not paying any income tax.’
This is a man-made situation. This is a PAP planned programmes so that the frogs cannot jump out of the well to see the outside world - the real world.
The PAP assumes that the butterfly is objective and happy. The frog is subjective and unhappy.
[Objectively, the odds should favour a happy outcome. Subjectively, we seem to be headed for an unhappy outcome.]
To conclude, we better examine deeply the causes of unhappiness. Who are objective and who are subjective? What do you think?